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Response to Simister Interchange Proposals

by timpickstone on 13 August, 2020

Please see below the formal response from the Holyrood Ward councillors to the Highways Agency consultation on their proposals for the M60 Junction 18 Simister Interchange.

See their proposals here.

We are the councillors who represent Holyrood Ward on Bury MBC. Holyrood Ward is the area most affected by these proposals. The ward is the area to the south of the M60/M62, from the Metrolink bridge towards Birch services, this includes the heavily built up areas between junctions 17 and 18 and the village of Simister immediately to the east of Simister interchange. 

Air Pollution and Traffic Levels
The Prestwich and Whitefield areas already suffer from high levels of air pollution, much of which is caused by the M60/M62. Official maps show a broad strip of ‘High for NO2′ and ‘High for all pollutants’ running both sides the motorway and significantly around Simister Interchange. Air pollution is a major cause of ill health and early death. 

Your own documentation tells us that you do not expect the air pollution levels to change as a result of the works. This is not good enough. A scheme that costs up to £340 million should be one which makes a significant reduction in levels of air pollution. 

As we understand, your assumptions on traffic levels do not take into account the accelerated level of growth required by Government and outlined in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. The GMSF plans for 200,000 extra homes in Greater Manchester in the next 20 years. It also plans for a very significant area of employment land immediately next to the M62 between Whitefield and Rochdale. Both of these will greatly increase traffic (and air pollution) from your projected levels. 

Prestwich is already congested. More traffic using this area of the motorway will no doubt mean more people leaving the motorway at junction 17, where the road is already beyond capacity. 

During the M60 ‘smart motorway works’ Prestwich experienced significantly increased congestion as people used local roads to avoid the gridlocked motorway. This included motorists cutting through the residential areas on the Sheepfoot Lane / Scholes Lane / Hilton Lane corridor, but we also saw a significant impact on the levels of traffic through Simister village and down Heywood Road with people using the (inappropriate) Blue Ball Lane track to bypass the motorway. We are very worried that this will be a major issue during the build phase of the proposals. 

Proximity to Residential Areas
The M60 between junctions 17 and 18 passes through a very heavily built up area. On both sides there are people’s homes right up to the motorway fence line. In Simister, part of the village (around Droughts Lane in particular) is a very close and immediate neighbour to the Simister Interchange junction with some people’s gardens backing right onto the existing roundabout. The whole of the village is very much affected by its proximity to the motorway. 

Significant areas around the intersection have been highlighted as residential building land in the current iteration of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. The fields on the NW, SW and SE sides of the interchange are currently earmarked for residential development at a relatively higher density. 

We are very concerned that the proposed developments – essentially a ten lane motorway between 17 and 18, and either a double roundabout or a flyover and loop are too close to residential developments and therefore make these proposals inappropriate. Five lane running will bring heavy traffic one lane closer to people’s homes and gardens. Your own documentation suggests that the works will increase the amount of traffic coming through this area which will mean more traffic very close to people’s homes. 

Noise is a major issue for people who live near to the motorway. We understand that the opportunity would be taken to install the latest technology for road surfaces to in some way reduce this, but we would want you to look at other measures to reduce the impact on noise for local people. 

Simister is a small village area, currently surrounded by farmland. Building a ‘northern loop’ immediately across from the village will significantly detract from the character of the village and will be detrimental to the people who live there.

The works are also close to four local schools. Children’s lungs are particularly sensitive to the impacts of air pollution. For St Margaret’s Primary School in particular the proposals will mean that an increased level of heavy traffic is one lane nearer to the children’s play areas which back up to the motorway.

We hope these comments are useful. In summary:

  • We are opposed to both options. We recognise that there is a need to address congestion but do not support either of the current proposals.
  • You need to address the impact of the motorway and the intersection being so close to residential areas and schools.
  • You need to address the air pollution issue, and come up with a proposal that significantly reduces air pollution.
  • You need to address the increased traffic levels as a result of the GMSF future growth in your projections.
  • You need a plan to minimise the traffic impact on Simister and Prestwich through any build stage.

Councillors Tim Pickstone, Cristina Tegolo, Steve Wright
Holyrood Ward, Bury MBC


7 Responses

  1. […] Your local councillors are campaigning against the proposals. You can read the response to the consultation by the Holyrood Ward councillors here. […]

  2. Ian Scuillion says:

    As a resident of Rhodes (Heywood Old Rd) I’m disappointed that we never seem to get a mention when discussing matters in Holyrood. These proposals will have a detrimental effect on our lives not least because drivers coming from the east always use Jn 19 on the M62 as a way of avoiding problems ahead of them when they want to join the M60 going south.
    I also hope that the GMSF proposals you mention as a good reason against the roundabout proposals haven’t been agreed, we don’t want them either.

    • prestwichfocus says:

      Good point Ian and well made.

      The GMSF proposals are not yet definite, they were the proposals in the draft which was consulted on last year.
      We are very much hoping that they don’t become a reality, as you say residents in Rhodes won’t want them and neither do we!

  3. David Morton says:

    As both a Prestwich resident and a frequent user of that particular junction, I find myself in a conflicted position. Clearly, I would like to see a better traffic flow, but if the price is high pollution levels in residential areas….then, perhaps not.

    It seems to me that we should be opposing the new residential development, rather than the road improvement.

    I am particularly concerned about the disruption during the two years of construction work. That is disruption both on the motorway itself and on the A56 through Prestwich and Whitefield. This aspect is almost ignored both in the proposals and in the Holyrood councillors’ response to them.

    • prestwichfocus says:

      Thanks David. You’re right the housebuilding / GMSF proposals need to be considered too. You’re right we’ve not addressed the motorway disruption in the build period, good point. I know our colleague in St Mary’s Ward is going to make specific points about the A56 as that lies within St Mary’s Ward.

  4. Christopher Nealon says:

    I’m all for the dedicated loop from the clockwise M60. But totally opposed to the ten lanes without a hard shoulder. I passed through J18 today. Clockwise traffic was backed up from J18 to J17 with vehicles trying to get round Simister Island. Yes it’s going to cause disruption for two years. But traffic free flowing traffic uses less fuel than the current stop/start.

  5. Michael Knaggs says:

    I am a resident of Simister and able to observe the current situation at Junction 18 from our home. During the morning rush-hour, between 7.30 and 8.30, there seems to have been a definite improvement in traffic flow since the beginning of the year.
    The justification for the development of junction 18 is, obviously, based on survey data prior to the pandemic. With the changes in work practices, including home-working and phased start and finish times, it is essential that their impact be assessed before this goes any further; or at least wait to see if the traffic reverts to pre-pandemic levels.

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